Christopher Payne • Photographer
A lazy week drifting betwixt jingling bells and confetti’d ballrooms. What came to mind? Taking a Mulligan, to borrow from the venerable game of confidence, we would post a catchy photo-montage from the NYTimes. Start off tracing the “Mulligan” phrase to the seventeenth century. Distract our readers from blatant thievery and possible copyright violation. Knock a smooth three-iron over the dogleg, coming up nicely short of the green. Chip and putt, an easy birdie.
Upon the hallowed fairways of the Old Course At St Andrews such a phrase did not originate. No noble and dusty lineage to Messer Mulligan. An act of Parliament such as created their Links Trust cannot change that.
We still have the photos to introduce. Christopher is a photo-essayist of vision and intuition. Here he captures the esteemed General Pencil Company of Jersey City, NJ. Practically next to Manhattan, its location again reminds our Mid-Atlantic staff state boundaries know no logic. As if they were drawn by the king’s whim.
With thanks to Christopher Payne, Sam Anderson, The New York Times Magazine, and the entire population of the eastern seaboard, we bring you the General Pencil Company!
Such radical simplicity is surprisingly complicated to produce. Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks. Even as other factories have chased higher profit margins overseas, General Pencil has stayed put, cranking out thousands upon thousands of writing instruments in the middle of Jersey City. – Sam Anderson for The New York Times Magazine